On the Radar: Kathy Mattea, Joanna Wallfisch, and Jason Hawk Harris
As the summer winds on, the flow of new campaigns on the major crowdfunding sites continues to be light, with most artists focusing on seasonal touring rather than funding new albums. But a slowdown doesn’t mean a stop, and timing your crowdfunding campaign during the “off season” can be advantageous, as you have less competition for pledges. On this week’s edition of Crowdfunding Radar, I’m bringing you one new music campaign from each of the three biggest crowdfunding sites.
Like many artists popular in the ’80s, Kathy Mattea found herself with a problem. As she aged, her voice began to change and she found herself concerned about whether she would be able to reach the notes that were her signature on hits like “Eighteen Wheels and a Dozen Roses” anymore. Her solution came in a conversation she had at a party with Tony Bennett, who said the secret to keeping his voice at his age was hiring a teacher and re-learning to sing with his new range. Mattea spent time with a vocal coach, and then to help her feel comfortable with her “new voice,” she hired her friend Tim O’Brien to hit the studio for a new independently produced album. Pretty Bird is currently funding on Kickstarter. While Mattea has already doubled her funding goal, fans still have an opportunity to contribute, as well as pick up backer rewards including signed copies of the CD, a handwritten lyric sheet, and an art print of the Pretty Bird cover.
Travel has been a common muse for writers from Xenophon to Jack Kerouac, from Robert Johnson to Johnny Cash. But not many of those road-tripping writers made their journey on a bicycle. But that’s what folk singer Joanna Wallfisch did in 2016, traveling 1,154 miles from Portland to Los Angeles, carrying her ukulele and loop pedal and playing songs along the journey in what she called “The Great Song Cycle.” The trip inspired Wallfisch to write an album of story songs and a novel based on the characters she met along the way. Wallfisch is raising funds for both projects on PledgeMusic. In addition to signed copies of both works, backer rewards include an opportunity to have her cover your favorite “road” song, join her in the studio as she records the album, or get a Buddhist prayer flag given to her by a man she met on her trip.
Jason Hawk Harris started his musical career as a classically trained composer, but found his true love in bluegrass and folk music. He found success with L.A.-based band The Show Ponies, co-writing and producing most of their albums. That band called it quits earlier this year, but Harris, who released an EP titled Formaldehyde, Tobacco, and Tulips in 2017, has now recorded his first LP as a solo artist and is raising funds via IndieGogo for the always costly post-production process. Backer rewards include first edition vinyl pressings of Love and the Dark, a limited edition “Hawkhead” shirt, and a personalized haiku.